Blog: No end to fight over San Francisco Peaks
"Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, Arizona skiers may soon be spared the inconvenience of living in one of the Union’s warmest and driest states.

Last week the high court removed the final legal hurdle blocking Arizona Snowbowl from making artificial snow with reclaimed sewage effluent on the San Francisco Peaks—a plan which 13 southwestern tribes say will desecrate their sacred mountain.

In a long-running lawsuit filed against the the U.S.Forest Service (the ski center's landlord) the Navajo and several other tribes had sought protection under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, arguing that to make snow on the mountain would decrease the "spiritual fulfillment" tribal members get from practicing their religion. By declining, without comment, to act on the tribes' appeal of a lower court ruling, the Supreme Court effectively gave Snowbowl the go-ahead.

Lawyers for the tribes say they still have several options (which appear to be long shots) for blocking Snowbowl. For now, though, Snowbowl is free to busy itself with that time-honored Western tradition: moving water uphill toward money."

Get the Story:
An end to the "Snow War"? (The Goat Blog 6/15)

Supreme Court Briefs:
Department of Justice | Arizona Snowbowl | Navajo Nation/Tribes

9th Circuit Decision:
Navajo Nation v. US Forest Service (August 8, 2008)

Related Stories:
Tribes weigh next step in sacred site battle (6/9)
Supreme Court declines to hear sacred site case (6/8)
Supreme Court to consider sacred site case (6/1)
USDA official can't comment on sacred site case (4/29)
Navajo Nation seeks to resolve sacred site case (4/28)
Obama response awaited in sacred site case (3/23)
Tribes ask Supreme Court to hear sacred site case (1/6)
Tribes weigh next move in sacred site case (10/23)
Indian religious rights cases on high court's horizon (10/21)
9th Circuit delays ruling in sacred site case (10/06)
Interview: Attorney in San Francisco Peaks case (8/22)
Appeals court reverses course on sacred site (8/12)
9th Circuit issues rulings on sacred site, compacts (8/8)

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